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Research projects

Our state-of-the-art laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution focuses on marine organisms that grow shells in the ocean, and their relationship to the marine carbon and alkalinity cycles. We conduct experiments and make measurements in the lab and in the field, using a combination of novel instrumentation and innovative approaches to traditional carbonate chemistry measurements.

Biogenic calcium carbonate solubilities through lab and field saturometry

We do not fully understand the thermodynamic controls on calcite solution in the ocean. For example, the pressure dependence of calcite solubility has never been successfully reproduced in the field. I am building a saturometer, which will test the reactivity and solubility of biogenic calcites and aragonites in the lab and the field across a range of heretofore underexplored thermodynamic variables. This device is being redesigned with a spectrophotometric pH sensor. This research is the focus of a funded NSF Chemical Oceanography proposal with co-P.I. Matt Long at WHOI.

Coccolithophores, Zooplankton, and Marine Viruses

The ocean carbon cycle is constantly in flux, with organisms growing in the surface ocean, dying, being eaten, and sinking down to the depths where carbon is stored away from the atmosphere. It turns out that marine viruses are a key part of the life cycle of coccolithophores, and we are investigating the linkages between coccolithophores, zooplankton grazing, and viral infection.  This project is funded through NSF's Growing Convergence Research (GCR) program, led by PIs Kay Bidle and Kim Thamatrakoln. Currently, graduate student Chloe Smith is working on grazing experiments, feeding isotopically labeled coccolithophores to microzooplankton, to determine how much CaCO3 dissolution happens during this feeding process.

Marine Carbonic Anhydrase Biochemistry

In this newly funded project with Co-PI Mak Saito (WHOI), we are unpacking the activities of diatom-based carbonic anhydrases by pairing sensitive assays of enzyme activity with state-of-the art proteomic analyses.  If this project sounds interesting to you, we are looking for a graduate student.  Please reach out!

Impacts and biological feedbacks associated with ocean alkalinization

Ocean alkalinization is an approach to mitigating anthropogenic CO2 emissions that involves increasing the already substantial buffering capacity of the world oceans. Despite being one of the few approaches that can sequester all anthropogenic emissions, there is little research being done on the impacts and biological feedbacks of ocean alkalinization. B.B. Cael at Southampton and I are working on assessing these impacts through culture and incubation experiments, utilizing 13C-labeled bicarbonate to track more carefully how and where carbon is moving through the ecosystem. Image is from the 2019 GESAMP working group on ocean alkalinization.

Underwater Gradient Exchange Mass Spectrometry

Led by PI Matt Long (WHOI), we are building and underwater mass spectrometer paired with a novel "gradient exchange" seawater sampling system, that will allow us to simultaneously determine benthic fluxes of oxygen, carbon dioxide, sulfide, and methane.